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The Living Qur’ān

Ali J. Hussain

The Living Qur'ān

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Hussain (Ali J.),The Living Qur’ān, Berlin, De Gruyter, ("IQSA Studies in the Qurʾan; 3"), 2023, 350 p. ISBN 978-3110794946


Ali J. Hussain received his PhD from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Elmhurst College, and Loyola University Chicago. He specializes in early Islamic history, and his research focuses on the classical Islamic sources. Forthcoming publications include research on Karbala and Shi’i identity, the development of Qur’anic qira’at (variant readings), and early Arabic manuscripts. (Source :


This work aims to distill the findings of a wide variety of scholarly disciplines into a coherent narrative of the Qur’ān’s history, from the first oral recitation to the four published Variants in active circulation today. In the process of unraveling the complicated relationships between the oral Qur’ān and the written Qur’ān, it becomes clear that there are, in fact, two histories of the Qur’ān and that the overall history of the Qur’ān cannot be appreciated without understanding the interactions between these two occasionally intertwined but often independent component histories. Discrepancies between the four qur’ānic Variants that are in active use today are indexed and analyzed. While most scholarship views the Qur’ān either in relation to its past and its possible origins, or in relation to its contemporary status as a static, fixed text, this work adopts an organic, developmental approach recognizing that the Qur’ān is a living text that continues to evolve.

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